On seeking love and appreciation….

tug of warIn the midst of finishing up on one of the biggest dreams of our lives, the completion of our custom solar home in rural southern Colorado, my family has decided to reject us.

To me this is simply the icing on the cake of decades of constant criticism and disrespect. Apparently we do not live up their idea of decent human beings, although neither one of us have any idea why.

This is so difficult to deal with in the midst of pure joy. Their lack of support has been a negative distraction from the real challenges of building a home from the footers up. The whole time I have been working to adjust to life in a new part of the state, I have had their criticisms in the back of my mind.

I am now through with that past:

“The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new.”  — Socrates

After 60 years of trying to please them, I have finally given up.

I found a phrase yesterday that I should have been living by for the past 50 years. Listen carefully and live accordingly:

IF SOMEONE DOES NOT APPRECIATE YOUR EFFORTS, STOP TRYING TO PLEASE THEM.  IF THEY DON’T APPRECIATE YOU, THEY DON’T DESERVE YOU.

Making Long-term Commitments

“Yeah, he seems pretty cool, but would I want to push him in a wheelchair?” — Amy Schumer

scan0012When it comes to love, the question should always come up: How long do you believe you could commit to this person? Although I have to admit, it didn’t come up for me previously.

Seeing your new love at age 24 and wondering what he will be like as an old man is just, well, weird.

These things do change by age 50 or 60… a lot. My family thinks I made a BIG MISTAKE marrying my present husband at age 50, because he had and still has Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) and an assortment of other physical problems.

My response is simple.  I relate with Mike better than any other human being I have ever met, and on so many different levels. Yes I have to take care of him sometimes. That is what a relationship is all about. Do not commit to this if you cannot live up to that deal. He was there for me when I fell off my bike and suffered a traumatic brain injury, fractured ribs, etc. I am certain he will be taking care of me more in the future.

We have experienced the lowest lows and the highest highs together, especially in the past few years of moving from a “safe” suburban neighborhood in Fort Collins, and building a home in rural southern Colorado. I would never have taken on something like this with anyone else, and I am certain that what we have experienced together would have destroyed most relationships.

Mike + Laura small versionAmy Schumer is funny because she says what the rest of us may be ashamed to be thinking, but there is still so much truth in asking yourself tough questions when it comes to committing to a long-term kind of love.

How long is your ouch time?

tug of warHow long does it take you to know you’re unhappy when someone slights you?

Should you then say something immediately, or try to keep silent to maintain the peace? According to research it is much better to speak up sooner, rather than let things fester.

Couples who complain about things that bug them, are less likely to end up in divorce court. And, BTW, women who approach men are more likely to get a compatible husband or boyfriend, compared to those who wait to get asked out.

Speaking at the Cheltenham Science Festival, Dr. Fry, who is married, said: “I would have thought a really high threshold of negativity, where you let things go on and let your partner ‘be themselves’ would be more successful,  but the exact opposite is true.

Partners who end up doing best…  speak up immediately and don’t let small things spill out of control.’

Waiting for Marriage

successful marriageI just heard about some new research that asks why millennials are waiting to get married. The reasons seem to be that the younger generation is less religious, facing a tough economy, the high cost of weddings, and fears of joining finances with another.

Please allow this 60 year-old to add her two cents on this issue.

I believe waiting to get married or choosing not to marry are brilliant choices for all. The reasons we marry are fascinating to me. The timing of both of my marriages had something to do with my need for health insurance. I do not recommend that way of making decisions, although it can tend to be a major factor.

Mike and Laura standing 2005 smallThe most important part of the decision is why you want to get married. Religion, a tough economy, the high cost of weddings and fears of joining finances were not a part of my decision to marry my new husband Mike at age 50.

We had already worked out religious questions, our finances were good, our wedding costs were very low, and we had already joined our finances by the time we married.

I knew I had the kind of person I had been looking for my whole life. Unfortunately it took most of my life to find him and know what I had. Marriage was in the end a solid financial decision.

I had recently been through a long process of figuring out how I really felt about love and what that meant to me. In that process I decided that finding genuine love was my only goal at age 49. And if that was true I had to find a way to believe in love again.

Now I know believing in love is your first step towards finding true love. The next step is deciding love is your highest priority. What you focus on does grow! Marriage is not the issue.

Do the necessary work on yourself, trust your intuition and heart, and then love will take care of itself!

Learning to trust in someone else …

Mr. Right frig magnetBelieving in and trusting someone else has been one of the greatest challenges of my life. I have always struggled to believe in my own power to find the best life for myself, so trusting in others has been even more difficult.

I gave up early trusting in others. After my first genuine belief in love failed miserably at age 24, I gave up. I felt like it was all up to me to make my life meaningful, and I wasn’t going to let anyone else in.

That ‘worked’ for a number of years, until I realized just how lonely and afraid I was. A compassionate counselor helped me see that I needed to try again to believe in the kindness of others, but it would be years before I found someone worthy of this faith. Trial and error dominated my 30s and 40s.

Finally at age 49, after decades of struggle, I found someone smart enough and compassionate enough to earn my faith, but you can imagine my difficulties in believing in him after so many years of not trusting.

Even today, over ten years after we met, I struggle daily to trust in his vision and expertise as we build a house together. Should I do as he suggests or not?

Trusting in others is my daily challenge. How about you?